Coauthor: João Pedro Falcão de Campos
Photos: José Manuel Rodrigues
Headquarters of the Portuguese National Bank
The requalification of the headquarters of the Portuguese National Bank seeks to strengthen the political, institutional, representative and cultural centralities of the Baixa Pombalina in the city of Lisbon, reinforcing the heritage, memory and identity of this particular area, as also a stimulus to transformation, creativity and innovation.
The design is inspired by the architectonic and urban presence of the admirable Pombalina “factory”, built after the 1755 earthquake through a visionary idea by Marquis of Pombal and what had became one of the most notable examples of the European Age of Enlightenment. The block-building concept, integrating S.Julião church, is characterised by its unitary presence, a careful design and hierarchy in the facades’ scenography and a longitudinal open patio, allowing the connection and articulation of the whole block.
The opening of the building into the city, safeguarding the privacy and security inherent to the functioning of an institution of this kind, was the basis of the design along the desire to reveal and make available the magnificent spaces of the old church and its connection to the lobby of the block. The proportions and the sequence of empty spaces, like in an urban order, constitute the backbone of the whole building.
In a contemporary context of careful debate around rehabilitation and interventions in heritage buildings, this project tries to value the pre-existence by taking full advantage of the lioz stone as natural material, with its different shades and textures, and by assuming its scars as testimonies of the passage of time. Above all, it seeks to achieve harmony and a global balance, using the various techniques available, between conservation, repair, restoration, reconstruction and renovation.